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Toyota retain Zonta and Panis 28 Nov 2005

(L to R): Olivier Panis (FRA) Toyota and Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Toyota with a signed steering wheel.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Race Day, Monza, Italy, 12 September 2004

Ricardo Zonta will continue as Toyota’s third and reserve driver next season, after signing a one-year extension to his contract. Olivier Panis is also staying on as tester for his fourth consecutive season with the team.

"I am very pleased to have signed again with Panasonic Toyota Racing for the coming season," said Zonta. "We enjoyed such a successful year in 2005 and I am sure this trend will continue.

Although Zonta will no longer get to participate in Friday practice sessions following Toyota’s fourth place in the 2005 championship, he believes he has made the right career choice in staying with the Japanese team.

“I feel part of the family at Toyota and I would rather continue to offer them my services as third driver than become race driver in another series which I may not enjoy as much as Formula One,” said the Brazilian. “I feel that I have contributed significantly to Toyota's success and I look forward to extensive testing of the TF106 to help propel us into the top flight of Formula One."

The next test outing for both Zonta and Panis will be at Jerez in December when Toyota have a total of eight days’ running planned at the Spanish circuit.